Gandalf - Gallery Of Dreams (featuring Steve Hackett) CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.48 | 19 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars Steve Hackett goes Mike Oldfield by Gandalf's magic power

It is fair to say that had it not been for the presence of one of my all time favourite guitar heroes - Mr. Steve Hackett - on this album, it is highly unlikely that I ever would have come into contact with Gandalf - an Austrian New-Age composer and multi-instrumentalist that has been releasing albums since 1980. Gallery Of Dreams is also the only Gandalf album I have ever heard (and most probably the only one I ever will hear!). Hackett adds both some of his very distinctive electric guitar sounds and some tasteful Classical guitar playing, but the music is mostly dominated by soothing, keyboard-generated soundscapes with some occasional piano and some more exotic instruments.

The album is almost wholly instrumental, but Tracy Hitchings does add some vocals to some tracks, including the title track. The music of Mike Oldfield is probably a very good reference point, but we are not talking about Tubular Bells here, but rather some of Oldfield's more recent and more New-Age oriented albums. This is overall a very relaxing and much understated type of music and it is very hard, not to say impossible, to relate this in any way to progressive Rock.

The value in this music lies, for me, not surprisingly, in Hackett's guitars; particularly, when he is allowed to shine on his electric guitar which is not too often. When he is allowed to contribute some nice acoustic playing, the mood is not that dissimilar to Hackett's Classical albums, but Gandalf's music is not really Classical. Needless to say, there are much better places to look if you want to witness Hackett's amazing guitar talents. Those looking for anything similar to Hackett's Rock albums or anything musically related to Genesis, are obviously looking in the wrong place here. But for those who enjoy relaxing, New-Age type music, Gallery Of Dreams is probably a nice addition.

For me personally, on the other hand, this is not particularly interesting at all even if I do see some soothing beauty in it. This is simply too understated and uneventful for my taste despite some lovely moments.

This album can only be recommended for fans of New-Age music and Steve Hackett completionists.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |


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